Thursday, November 1, 2007

Four Apparitions in Holding Pattern over Santa Fe


Devil's Night. All Hallows Eve. All Saints. All Souls. As my nod to being right now in the midst of our annual four-day celebration of other realms, I'm posting an image of "Four Apparitions." It was my first acrylic-and-CT-scan-film on canvas.

Last spring Oakley's sinuses kept acting up and so his doctor, to rule out "anything serious," ordered a bunch of CT scans. There was in fact nothing serious, and Oakley went home with a huge envelope stuffed full of a dizzying array of images of every hole in his head. Naturally, when I saw that tempting parcel bearing the words PATIENT'S COPY, I couldn't resist taking a look for myself. I held those films, sheet after sheet of them, up to the light. Who knows? Maybe I'd see something the radiologist didn't.

And wow, did I ever! What I saw was a levitating chorus line of otherwordly beings. They were linking their outstretched arms, celebratory, ready to kick their choreographed legs in the air at any minute. And I heard them too. They were belting out a gutsy rendition of "There's No Business Like Show Business." Go ahead. Enlarge the picture and look closely. You'll see that Ethel Merman is on the far left, followed by Hiram, then Lily. The last one's identity I'm still puzzling over. Any ideas?

I found them quite the festive ensemble, more than worthy of gracing one of my humble paintings. So I completed "Four Apparitions" as a part of our "Medicine Show," a show involving sixteen artists at the gallery this past August. I also labored over an "Alternative Medicine Cabinet," which found the proper home rather quickly. The apparitions are another story.

It's not that my dancing spirits haven't gotten their share of interest. I have been told that the two predominant colors vibrate against one another effectively. I have been told that the reddish line serving as a sort of "horizon" works, that the little strip of black with the intriguing shapes completes the composition with grace.

That's when I go and open my big mouth and say, "YES!--aren't those just AMAZING? You'd never guess--they're CT scan films of my son's sinuses!!!" Then my prospective buyer slowly backs away as though I'd just said the media involved are acrylic, crushed gallstones, and old liposuction extracts. One woman said, "EW!!! That completely changes the way I look at it now."

Oh well, I have a fondness for the piece and if I don't sell it, I'll take it home. A place of honor over the dining room table awaits.

37 comments:

Lee said...

LOL I'm glad you are having such a fun time in Santa Fe right now. We have a festival in April but that's a long time away. Sigh!

Now, I'm having fun with this painting. I keep seeing different things as if it were several paintings all at once. If I focus on the black and read scans I see 4 heads that look sort of dressed for Mardi Gras. If I look just above the two on the right I see what look like the bust of two figures and they are managing puppets for a show like the in the Sound of Music. The streamers that hang down from the four scans remind me of the ribbons in that dance scene from the movie "All That Jazz", which I loved. Those are all rather outlandish images but I'm remembering the movie right now and it had quite a few life/death oddities in it. Did you ever see it?

Peace! and Joy!

San said...

Hi Lee! We don't really have many festivities in Santa Fe right now. Devil's Night Bennie remembers fondly from his Detroit upbringing. As for All Hallows Eve, we didn't get a single trick-or-treater. I believe the pumpkin I carved looked far too slack-jawed and just plain goofy to attract the proper goblin contingent. Also, we live out in the sticks.

Love all the things you see in my painting. I did see "All That Jazz," and yes, I loved it. Now I do remember the visitation by Death. How cool that you made that connection. Makes me want to order it from netflix and rewatch it. Too bad you can't come over for popcorn.

Philip said...

An interesting tale San. I use all sorts of things in my pictures sometimes but rarely reveal what they are! I'm glad that you hang your art in your home by the way - evere artist should.

I very much agreed with your post on Ed's site by the way!

Great pictureª

self taught artist said...

what a story! I like the painting, those four apparitions look to me like fuzzy catepillars...i'm drawn in by them and want to see and feel an expansion of them.
the colours you use in your paintings are sublime. they quench.

HMBT said...

Love the colors! The fact that the images came from inside your kids head thrills me. I really like the position of the wavy lines, like the painting is raining it's story (information) down onto the wildness of being alive (reds). How little we really know about the act of imagination, and the power of creating. I like the mystery involved. Great work.

San said...

Philip, now my curiosity's up as to your undisclosed mediums. The mind reels.

San said...

Paula, I dig the fuzzy caterpillars angle. Maybe I will expand on that. The color "quenches." I like that. Thanks!

San said...

Heather: "the painting raining its story down onto the wildness of being alive." Wow, I'm all fired up to paint!!! Thanks.

CHEWY said...

San,
A couple times I posted paintings which I was not happy with and said so at my blog. I've learned NOT to do that... and usually the ones I don't like others love. I am my own worst critic.

I saw the wavy lines as "rain" or "tire tracks". I still have the southern California fire stories on my mind, so I see the bottom as embers slowly burning out.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Woo-hoo! How fabulous to seek inspiration from something so (literally) deep. Being a mere trog, I immediately saw a row of dancing dental abcesses - but hey, having experienced recent root canal work, it certainly made me "feel"!!

(I do so wish I had a soul..)

WBTT said...

The red/orange tones at the bottom of this painting is the sun. The scratched red lines rising toward the CaT scan are rays of extreme solar energy reaching for that moment when medical machinery takes a snapshot of our son's most eloquent throat. Wonderful, the melding of art and science, the joyful flux of your vision, the surface and depth of this life.

"It's always night, or we wouldn't need light."
--Thelonious Monk

San said...

Chewy, you always give me something to chew on, and this time, it'll blow bubbles. Thanks.

San said...

Ms. Shrink Wrap, you are a Scream! Wish you had a soul? I would say your abscess is an overflowing of soul.

San said...

WBTT, you continue to amaze and dazzle me. Your hand in the darkness, that's my light.

Daphne said...

"Four Apparitions" has an other worldly glow.

How appropriate.

San said...

Daphne, it's always great to hear from you. I am plugging away in the studio for a few days, after one of my prolonged absences. I have a few things in progress. Wish me luck!

murat11 said...

Dig the found art, right under your (well, Oakley's) nose. Orange and blue were the totemic colors when Tina and I joined paths, many poems written to that effect. The world can never have enough orange and blue: thanks to you for adding to the abundance.

I believe Mr Pynchon loved Wild Bill Bennie's Monk quote, too.

Flannery said...

The fourth apparition is Zora Neale Hurston. She's kicking up her heals in preparation for some Voodun ritual.

You write so, so well.

Oaks said...

Pardon my overly elegent French, but those "non-buyers" can go and eat some gallstones.

San said...

Murat, a while back I told you Bennie had just finished Pynchon's most recent. I believe it was Oakley who'd just read it. And Bennie is getting to it right about now. I'll ask him if he sees the O. Hall influence.

Totemic colors conjoined--it all adds up. Peace to you and Tina and Walden. That's a cool moniker you guys came up with, by the way. Connotes a calm ripple effect on the surface of somebody's pond.

San said...

Flan, let's hope Nora is kicking up a buying storm!

xoxoxo

San said...

Oaks, you give me food for thought. We could actually have some of those enrobed in chocolate. We'd keep them at the gallery in a bowl reserved for special clientele--"Bon appetit, mon frere."

xoxoxo

San said...

P.S. to Flan: I should have said Zora not Nora. It coulda been worse. I almost typed Zoro.

QUASAR9 said...

Great painting!
Here's wishing you a mighty fine Sunday

San said...

Gracias, Senor Quasar. Back at ya, dude.

david mcmahon said...

G'day San,

You really gave us a wonderful insight there. I particularly liked the line ``a levitating chorus line of otherwordly beings.''

Still trying to identify the fourth one for you ...

Cheers

David

San said...

Hi, David. So far Zora has a leg up, but if you have any fresh perceptions, I'm all ears. Thanks for reading.

Cheers back...

CHEWY said...

San,
Congrats on "Post of the Day" over at David McMahon's authorblog.

San said...

Chewy, thanks for letting me know! I'm in the studio for a few days, and here my vintage laptop is my only way to access the blogosphere. I can't post to my own blog, just make comments (and sometimes that doesn't work, if I don't really focus during my incantations). David's is one of the blogs that refuses to load on my "classic" equipment. Darn, how I'd like to check it out.

THANKS, David. I don't suppose you're awarding a brand new laptop, are you?

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Yeah, congrats san, very well deserved!

ps. Isn't it time for a new post? (I nag for a living.)

San said...

Ms. Scream, don't tell me you're a shrink in real life. Just kidding. I'd be more than happy to relent to your nagging, but I'm still in the studio and this cantankerous little laptop doesn't allow me to post to my own blog. It'll only allow commenting. Go figure. The spirit's willing, but the technology's weak.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Celebration of Life said...

Congrats San! David visits my blog but I guess he thinks its trivial! lol I am jealous of your artistic ability. I am getting the urge to paint again. Thanks for the inspiration! Jolene

San said...

Jolene,

Thank you for such a nice compliment. I love reading your blog--it inspires me to Celebrate Life!

jsd said...

there's something mystical about literally seeing the inside of yourself. I had a half-body x-ray taken some years ago. I didn't get to keep the x-ray, but I had a hard time taking my eyes away from the bones that comprise me. It was an interesting view into oneself.

I think it's fantastic that you took art to create another piece of art.

San said...

Hey JSD, thanks for dropping by.

There's more to us than meets the everyday eye, that's for sure. I agree--getting a glimpse of our inner workings is quite the mystical experience.

Camplin said...

This piece captures the feeling I got when my wife and I visited Santa Fe. Beautiful.

San said...

Thanks much, Camplin. Love your profile photo--I look forward to checking out your blog.